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Location Turkmenistan, Akhal
Central coordinates 58o 19.57' East  37o 44.90' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 37,305 ha
Altitude 600 - 2,535m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

BirdLife Central Asia Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The Kurtusuv - Khovudan IBA is situated 10 km to the south of Ashgabat, and combines a strict protection area (19,059 hectares) with the buffer zone of the Kopetdag state reserve (23,000 hectares). The area of the IBA constitutes 15.1% of the total area of the Central Kopetdag (279,100 hectares). The site covers a group of canyons of various length (from 7 to 15 km), mainly with a northeast orientation.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna includes 177 species (13 orders, 31 families). Nesting birds – 97 species, non-migratory – 49 species, passage-nesting – 48 species, migratory – 17 species, wintering birds – 7 species and passage – 6 species. Passeriformes (16 families, 49 genus, 81 species) and Falconiformes (2 families, 12 genus and 22 species) are most representative in terms of the number of species. The different habitats (semidesert, tugai, stony-rocky, etc.) of the IBA support numerous communities of birds which reflect the original avifauna of the Central Kopetdag (Mishenko, 1986). The site supports several nesting species listed in the Red List of IUCN (2004): Aegypius monachus, Falco naumanni plus species listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999): Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco peregrinus, Gypaetus barbatus and Bubo bubo. Several of these species conform to the criterion А1. Criterion А3 applies for biome-restricted species (Biome CA 06): Ammoperdix griseogularis, Oenanthe finschii, Oenanthe picata, Emberiza buchanani and Sitta tephronota; (Biome CA 04b): Columba eversmanni, Ammomanes deserti, Hippolais rama, Scotocerca inquieta, Rhodospiza obsoleta, Emberiza bruniceps and Sylvia nana. Biome CA05 - Tichodroma muraria and Mycerobas carnipes also occur. Aquila nipalensis, Aquila heliaca, Pterocles orientalis, Oenanthe deserti and Lanius excubitor occur on passage.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals are represented by more than 29 species (Zykov, Korshunov, 1986; Mammals of Turkmenistan, 1995). Hyaena hyaena, Panthera pardus, Ovis vignei and Capra aegagrus are listed in the Red Data Book of Turkmenistan (1999). Amphibians: Bufo viridis turanensis; reptiles - 26 species. The flora of the IBA is represented by 886 species (412 genus and 74 families).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Caspian Snowcock Tetraogallus caspius resident  1983-2006  1 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis resident  1983-2006  10-12 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug resident  1983-2006  1 breeding pairs  good  A1  Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus breeding  1983-2006  2-3 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Eastern Rock-nuthatch Sitta tephronota resident  1983-2006  40-50 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii breeding  1983-2003  9-10 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Variable Wheatear Oenanthe picata breeding  1983-2006  20-25 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani breeding  1983-2006  10-15 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2006 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture wood and pulp plantations (includes afforestation) - agro-industry plantations happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kopetdag State Nature Reserve 49,793 protected area contains site 37,305  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   17%
Shrubland   13%
Grassland   6%
Desert   24%
Rocky areas   35%
Artificial - terrestrial   5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 20%
Notes: border zone
nature conservation and research 75%
urban/industrial/transport 5%

Protection status The IBA completely includes two protected areas (Babazo and Aselma; 19,059 hectares) plus a protection zone of 23,000 hectares of the Kopetdag reserve. Forestry management in the reserve ceased in 1979.

References Atayev, Ch.А. (1985). Reptiles of mountains of Turkmenistan. Ashgabat. Ylym. p. 344 (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1988) .Numbers and distribution of Falconiformes in Kopetdag reserve // Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Biology Sciences. - №5. P. 77-80. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1989). Materials to a cadastre of rare species of birds of Kopetdag reserve // Soviet-union conference on a problem of a cadastre and the account of animals of the world. (Thesis of reports). part 3. Ufa. P. 81-83. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1989). Ecology of nesting species of Falconiformes in Kopetdag reserve // Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Biology Sciences. - №5. P. 41-48. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1990). Long-term dynamics of numbers of Falconiformes in territory of the Central Kopetdag. P. 230-233 « USSR reserves - their present and the future ». Novgorod. V. 3. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1990). Nested ecology of Falco peregrine (Falco peregrinus brookei Sharpe, 1873) in the Central Kopetdag // Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Biology Sciences., № 3. P. 38-42. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1990). Modern distribution and dynamics of number rare Falconiformes of the Central Kopetdag // Rare and insufficiently known birds of Central Asia. Materials of 3rd Soviet ornithological Conference – Tashkent : P. 65-67. (in Russian). Efimenko N.N. (1992) To biology of nesting of birds of prey of the Central Kopetdag. Ornithological researches in reserves: Problems of reservation matter: Collected articles. Мoscow.: 89-113. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1992а). Observations of rare species of mammals in Central Kopetdag // News Proceedings of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Biology Sciences., № 3. P.71-73. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (1998.) Falcon (Falco peregrinus) in Turkmenistan - p.102-103. Thesis of National conference on September, 29-30th, 1998 Ashgabat. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (2004). Monitoring of ecosystem elements of Kopetdag state reserve (Turkmenistan) p. 24. - « Reserves and national parks ». - Мoscow: Biodiversity protection Center. 42. (in Russian). Efimenko, N.N. (2004.) Peregrin in Turkmenistan // «Strepet». Т.2, Russia. (in Russian). Zykov A.E., Korshunov V.M. (1986). The annotated list of mammals of the Central Kopet Dagh // Nature of the Central Kopetdag. Ashgabat. Ylym. p. 162-183. (in Russian). Mishenko Yu.V. (1986) Specific structure and vertically-biotopic distribution of birds of the Central Kopetdag p. 120-162; « Nature of the Central Kopetdag » - Ashgabat: Ylym. (in Russian). Kamahina G.L. (2005). Flora and vegetation of the Central Kopetdag (the present, the past and the future) – Ashgabat. (in russian). Rajapov M. National action plan on environmental protection of the President of Turkmenistan Saparmyrat Turkmenbashy (2002). Ashgabat. (in Russian, Turkmen, English). Rajapov M. Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Turkmenistan. Ashgabat, 2002. (in Russian, Turkmen, English). Rajapov M. Turkmenistan. Country Study on the Status of Biodiversity. Ashgabat, 2002. (in Russian, Turkmen, English).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kurtusuv - Khovudan. Downloaded from on 26/11/2015

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